In the spirit of continuing flights to large, busy airports, Horace and I decided to fly to Charlotte, NC. Charlotte is a Class B airport in western North Carolina and is a center for PSA Airlines. I am still interested in flying for PSA/American Airlines in the future, so this was a very cool experience for us.
Crossing over the eastern Kentucky border, the mountains have a very different look and feel than southern Kentucky. They were beautiful, with lakes and valleys, and the peaks were not as intrusive. The weather that day was cold and clear, so cruising over them was still glassy smooth and a great time.
When we were about to cross the border into North Carolina, we got the weather and thoroughly prepared ourselves for what clearances and directions we would be given. Sure enough, we were handed over to Charlotte Approach very soon after that. We were vectored for about fifteen minutes, and when six miles from the threshold of one of the three parallel runways, handed off to tower. Tower told me to keep my maximum forward speed all the way on the approach. So I kept my cruise speed, and dove. When I was on a mile final, I pitched up to reduce airspeed and dropped everything I had. This was very effective, and my approach was stable. I had a beautiful landing in front of PSA and American Airlines jets, and cleared the humongous runway. Tower thanked me for the approach, and I taxied to the ramp on their frequency.
When we arrived at the FBO ramp, a truck with a massive light up message board was waiting. His board said “FOLLOW ME,” similar to a highway construction sign. I taxied behind him to a busy ramp covered with a variety of expensive aircraft. It was a ton of fun spotting all the different jets, while airliners constantly whizzed by on takeoff, three at a time. Horace and I grabbed some coffee, and hopped back in for the return trip.
We had to hold at the runway with three airliners, a King Air, and a private jet for about twenty to thirty minutes. This was actually a ton of fun, as we had a front row seat to watching the huge jets land and experience the Class B airspace system. It was very similar to being at Chicago Midway and seeing landing lights for miles, constantly lining up with the runways. We got cleared onto the runway with landing traffic behind us, and flew a published departure procedure. We quickly got sent on our way, and had a great return trip to Richmond.
This was a great trip, and Horace and I decided to later return to try a local restaurant. I’ll have a post about it later. Charlotte will most likely become one of my favorite places to visit.